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Boeing Donates Jet Engine To Spokane Community College

Photo by Steve Jackson

Students in the aviation program at Spokane Community College are the beneficiaries of a huge gift from the Boeing Company.

Boeing has donated a 12-foot tall, 17,000-pound 787 jet engine to the SCC Aviation Maintenance program.

The program, which has been going since the 1960s at SCC, has trained students for jobs in aerospace and aviation.

Dave Cox, the dean for technical education at SCC, says the gift of the giant General Electric engine will benefit the program, from which nearly 100 students graduate every year.

“It’s a huge deal," Cox said. "It’s the single piece of our power plant side that we teach here that we’ve never had, and that’s a large format, high-bypass turbine engine. We’ve had a lot of small turbines that will teach the concept, but as you can see by the size of this engine, what we couldn’t teach before, is scale."

Bill McSherry, Boeing's vice president of government operations, says the time is right for students who want to get into the field of aviation maintenance.

“We know that over the next 10 or 20 years there are going to be 2.4 million jobs that will go unfilled because students don’t have the technical skills that employers require, so we have undertaken a really considered effort to work with our universities and colleges to make sure the students that are in the communities we operate in have the opportunities to get the skills we, the employers, need. There’s a ton of really good jobs if you get the right skills you will be absolutely competitive for," he said.

The massive engine will be stored and available for student use in the large aviation maintenance hanger operated by SCC at Felts Field.


Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.